Tuesday, 22 December 2020

A year of minimalist adventures, 2020

What can I say about 2020? Not much that you haven't already thought yourself. But, I have kept reminding myself, and Chrissie, how lucky we are. We're retired. We live in a beautiful area. So no real financial worries and, really, plenty of time and space to get out. But it's still got to me.

Nevertheless, I do seem to have squeezed a few adventures in.

We saw January in with James and Dale with a van trip to Troutbeck Head, involving walking, mountain biking and a visit from our pal Pete Dixon.

In February, Noah had a long-awaited overnight stay with us, while Mum and Dad shot into the local maternity unit and returned with a little brother, Ewan.

In a brief respite from grandparenting, Islay and I dashed up a favourite hill for a camp...

...and at the end of the month Chris and I met up with James for a long day's mountain biking down in the White Peak.

In February, blissfully unaware of what was ahead, Chris and I jetted off to Gran Canaria for a week of backpacking. On the second night we were hit by a wild calima; a ferocious sandstorm from Africa, which destroyed Chris's tent. We spent the rest of the week as somewhat uncomfortable tourists, by the ocean.

In March, more and more news emerged of a virus from China. Noah began getting used to life as a big brother and Chrissie and I set out north in the van. In Barnard Castle, we watched more information emerging on social media and began feeling slightly guilty for travelling away from home. After just a couple of nights we returned home...and the first lockdown began.

April saw us in a world of Skype calls with daughter, son in law and grandchildren. We were thankful for good weather, and life in a village on the edge of the Peak District hills. We never missed a day out with the dogs.

May brought the possibility of garden meets. But Noah was felt to be too young and boisterous to understand. So he stayed home with Daddy while Abi visited with Ewan. In the latter part of the month, I sneaked out for a camp with Islay. This was around the time, accommodation opened and overnight stays were again permitted. All a bit irrelevant to solo backpacking though. 

Chrissie had been suffering with Lyme disease for some time. The GP's antibiotics didn't help. So in June she was referred to Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital and given a three week course of intravenous antibiotics, which I was trained to administer, at home, each day. It did work, thankfully.

On one night, Islay and I slept in the van, on the drive, just for fun.

In early July, Dale and I took a two night trip around Kinder and later in the month I drove up to the Lakes for another two nighter with David Williams and John Sanderson. For the Lakes trip I used the Hilleberg Ajan 2 which we'd recently bought.

August saw the first and last visit (for now) from Abi, Dave and the children. Then we finally got away in the van for a trip to North Yorkshire, where we met up with James and Corrina. From there we drove over to Barnard Castle (which we've known for much longer than the t*** Cummings) where we enjoyed fish and chips on a stroll into the town.

In mid September Dale and I had another two nighter in the Peak District heat. We bought another Hilleberg; an Ajan 3, to use for the two of us and with dogs (we've yet to try this out) then Chrissie, Dale and I went up to Bellingham, near Kielder for a week of walking and mountain biking. Once Dale left, we crossed into the Scottish borders for a week or so of fun. Chrissie rented a mountain bike and was hooked!

Home again in October, Chrissie bought a mountain bike and we began exploring local trails together. At the end of the month we spent a couple of days at Teversal, when Dale joined us for solo rides, staying well within, then current, rules, whatever they were.



November brought Noah's third birthday, which we couldn't join him for, but we managed a playground visit before the next lockdown hit.

Which, finally brings us to December. So far this month we've had snow, which came and went very quickly. And Chris persuaded me to have a local camp while he tried out his new Hilleberg Enan.

As I write we've just had a Hilleberg Nallo 2 delivered. Yes, I know, it's the third Hilleberg we've bought this year. Blame boredom. I may well be out again next week for a trial camp, so keep your eyes peeled for an update to the year.

As Christmas approaches, if anyone knows the current rules, please let me know. Me? Confused? Look, I had a tooth out yesterday. It may have affected my brain...

Love and hugs to you all and I truly wish you the best for Christmas, and a much, much better year in 2021.